Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: what does a banquet server do? 

Did you know that the concept of banquets has been around for thousands of years? Large banquets requiring food service workers were held in civilizations such as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In modern day, banquets are a way to get a group of people together for a variety of reasons, but often for a celebration or recognition.  

LGC has two decades of experience with banquets, whether it’s partnering with clients who host them or placing employees who work at them. It’s safe to say that we know a thing or two about banquets.  

One common question we get is, “what does a banquet server do?” Though there are some overlapping responsibilities between a banquet server and a traditional restaurant server, there are specific differences that are vital to working as a banquet server. Below we’ll answer the question “what does a banquet server do?” and share tips for hiring and finding work as a banquet server.  

What Does a Banquet Server Do? 

The most important thing to know about this position is that the server must know how to conduct banquet service. If the banquet has a plated dinner, it requires a specific style of service which prioritizes etiquette and follows a set of rules. This 90 second YouTube video does a great job of outlining the basics of plated banquet service, but the main rule you need to know is: serve with the left, clear with the right.  

This means that your left hand will always be on the left side of the guest and used to place plates on the table. Your right hand stays on the right side of the guest and is only used to remove empty dishes from the table.  

These rules aren’t difficult per say, but if they’re not followed to a T, it can throw off the entire service. Consistency is vital to creating a great experience for guests which means all banquet servers need to be on the same page.  

Not all banquets require plated service. Some may be more casual and have a buffet, food stations, or cafeteria-style service. There might also be tray service which also requires the ability to carry a large tray with plates on it. (Here’s another helpful YouTube video.) 

To know what service is required, it’s crucial to communicate with the event captain and/or your supervisor. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Tips for Hiring Banquet Servers 

Working as a banquet server requires a thorough understanding of the position and what’s expected of the employee. Throughout the twenty years LGC has been hiring banquet servers, we’ve learned exactly what great candidates need to be successful. Here’s what we found: 

  • Technical expertise. As we mentioned above, knowing the basics of plated banquet service is required to be able to work this position. Regardless of how you attain these skills – whether it’s through experience or through training – you need to have them.  
  • Soft skills. We’ll never stop talking about the importance of candidates having great soft skills. They’re something you can’t teach and yet they make all the difference – especially as a banquet server. Having the right soft skills makes the difference between guests having a mediocre experience vs having a memorable experience.  
    • Part of having the right soft skills is understanding the subtle nuances that come with working banquets. While servers can help create a great experience by facilitating high-class service, they cannot be part of the event. A great rule of thumb to remember is, be present and quietly attentive. 
  • Flexible scheduling. There’s one thing employees want right now regardless of what industry they’re in, and its flexibility. Workers will leave a job if they aren’t offered the flexibility they need to create a work life balance that satisfies their needs. You don’t want employees to look for other opportunities; especially with so much available competition to choose from.  

Now that you can answer the question, “what does a banquet server do?” and understand the best way to hire this popular hospitality position, you might be wondering how exactly to hire them. The biggest piece of advice we have is to find a staffing firm that you trust and partner with them.  

Not only are staffing companies able to tap into a large pool of employees ready and able to work, but they’re also able to account for changes in seasonality and allow employees to have the work life balance that they want. LGC can provide your business with all this and more – contact us today to learn how we can provide banquet servers for your next event.  

And if you’re an employee looking for great banquet server opportunities, LGC can help with that! We can connect you with great shifts around your city, check out more here